Ash Walsh's Dunlop Series Form Guide

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 02/05/2015
  • By V8 Supercars

Barbagallo always treated Ash Walsh well during his V8 Supercar Dunlop Series career, claiming back-to-back round wins in 2013 and 2014.

While the Dunlop Series' reigning Perth victor has since graduated to the main game, the Erebus Motorsport V8 pilot continues to watch the 'level two' category closely to see how his former rivals and the series' young guns are faring.

"We were pretty flat out at Clipsal, but I certainly do keep a close eye on the Dunlop Series," he told v8supercars.com.au.

Throughout the 2014 season, the 27-year-old was locked in a fierce battle for the title with Cameron Waters and Paul Dumbrell, with the latter prevailing to claim his second Dunlop Series crown.

He expects the fight between Dumbrell and Waters will continue this year - as seen at the season opener with the pair both clinching wins in Adelaide - but the former Matt Stone Racing driver believes his place in the battle pack will be filled at Barbagallo by some accomplished racers.

"It's hard to go past Dumbrell and Waters [as the front runners], but probably someone who didn't perform as well as he should of last year in Perth, and probably will perform better this year is Chris Pither," he told v8supercars.com.au of the kiwi racer, who joined MW Motorsport this season.

"Chris is adapting to the new team. From what I hear, those FPR cars are quite different to drive... but those boys will be able to fight right at the top.

"He has a lot of experience, he's a very fast driver, but he just needs to learn how to extract the most out of his FPR car."

Walsh also singled out former teammate Todd Hazelwood as a contender in Barbagallo, despite the 19-year-old's difficult start to the season at Clipsal.

"Todd had a pretty tough Adelaide and he's working really hard to just be on the grid," he told v8supercars.com.au.

"Along with that and all of the sponsor commitments he had in Adelaide, I think he really felt the pressure a little bit.

"He certainly showed last year in Barbagallo that it's a good track for Matt Stone Racing, and it's a good track for Todd too. I'm expecting him to go that next step up and be right up there.

"Whether he'll be on the podium, we'll have to see but he has certainly showed some really good potential in Perth."

A number of rookies will descend on Barbagallo for the first time this weekend as part of their maiden assaults of the series - a hard task if you don't have the correct foundations, according to Walsh.

"Some people adjust to the V8 Supercar quickly, but it all just depends on your background, your experience and also the engineers who teach you the right driving techniques and point out the things you need to know," he said.

"I think it's quite important when you first go into V8 Supercars to have those things pointed out for you, because if you don't, you can develop bad habits that don't really work well with driving a V8 Supercar fast.

"Shae Davies is a rookie with so much experience, but just not in a V8 Supercar - he's used to a Porsche where it's a 'set and forget' set up compared to the Dunlop Series, so I think he's taking time to adjust to working with an engineer and extracting the most out a V8 Supercar.

"Simon Evans is another one where he has been very successful in the New Zealand SuperTourers. The Dunlop Series cars are a little bit different to drive, and it's going to take him time. Every driver is different."

The Dunlop Series qualify for race one today at 11.55am local time.

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